1915: September 22:
|The Syracuse Herald - September 22, 1915.|
FORTY CHRISTIANS A DAY ARE DYING, SAY REFUGEES
Young Assyrians Tell of Terrors of Turkish Uprising — Stop at Gospel Mission.
Two young Assyrian refugees who have fled to this country to escape the terrors fo the Turkish uprising were entertained last night at the Gospel mission in West Fayette street. They are John Sargis and Joseph Shemon of Urmia, Persia.
Leaving their parents under the protection of the American missionaries in Russia, the two young men came to this country to seek friends who live in Buffalo and establish a home in this country to which they may bring their families.
Since leaving Russia, however, the young men have been unable to get into communication with their parents who when last they knew were at that time like as many sheep, the Christians who had fled to Russia for protection, were dying at the rate of thirty and forty a day for lack of proper food and shelter, according to the refugees whose story was this morning told to Superintendent Goodwin of the mission.
Both young men are well educated and speak English fluently. They are graduates of the American Presbyterian College in Persia. The father of young Sargis is a missionary, who for the last twenty-six years has been working with the Presbyterian Foreign missionaries in Persia. His mother and his young sister fled with the Christian inhabitants of the community to Russia when an alarm was sent out advising them to do so.
The Rev. Dr. William Shedd of Rye was the president of the Presbyterian College. Of Dr. Shedd, who has many friends in the State, Mr. Sargis brings sad news. He says that the college president, being a person of prominence in the community went personally to plead with the Turks for the lives of the Christians at one time within their power. Upon his return to the college he found that his wife had died and was hurriedly buried, her death being hastened by anxiety and terror.
“I shall never forget the awful night when we were awakened from our beds and told to fly to Russia,” said Mr. Sargis, whose grave face and anxious demeanor expresses the concern which he feels for his parents. “It was on the night of January 2nd at 11:30 and the Russian missionary workers offered their protection to 400 Christians of the community, leaving their houses in haste, started on the awful journey. Fifteen hundred of this number perished by the roadside from cold and hunger. Finally, my cousin and I left Russia for Sweden and then came to this country.”
As the two young men have been without employment since they arrived in the United States more than six months ago, they are finding some difficulties in reaching their friends in Buffalo. Superintendent Goodwin is much interested in them and is endeavoring to find some countrymen in this city who will come to their relief.
All effort to get into communication with missionaries in Russia has been futile and many months have been wasted in New York by the travelers endeavoring to glean some assurance that their families have not perished.